Shelter Housing Law Service
Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. Their vision is of a safe, secure, affordable home for everyone.
The Shelter Scotland Housing Law Service provides free legal advice to help people with housing issues across Scotland. Their solicitors provide advice and attend court to help people keep their homes, access housing and improve their housing conditions. The Law Service operates under three core values: ensuring access to justice; encouraging empowerment through knowledge sharing and focusing on a human rights based approach.
In previous years, students have become Legal Volunteer Interns with the Shelter Housing Law Service in Glasgow. In this position students have volunteered weekly with a team of dedicated housing and homelessness lawyers, supporting the team in a variety of ways including through research and admin.
"My time as a volunteer at Shelter has been one of the most fulfilling experiences from my time as a student at the School of Law. In my final year I was looking for the opportunity to improve my practical experience of using law in relation to inequality and social justice and was particularly interested in exploring an area of law that I hadn’t had the chance to study in depth as part of the curriculum. At Shelter I gained experience of housing and homelessness law in practice, as well as of skills which will be valuable to a future in any area of law. The work was varied and interesting, and my colleagues made me feel like a valuable member of the team. I would recommend volunteering with the Law Service to any student with a passion for social justice – my time there bolstered my ambitions and gave me more confidence in the possibility of a career using law to contribute to real change."
Eleanor Livingston – graduate (2018)
“MECOPP’s 3 R’s Project is a self-directed support (SDS) legal rights project. The project aims to help people across Scotland access social care, by bringing together legal and non-legal expertise to increase the level of scrutiny and accountability of local authority decision making. In particular, we are working to increase capacity in the third sector and our student internships are a vital part of this aspect of the project. We give third sector organisations which support people to access SDS the opportunity to host a 3 R’s Project intern. We provide the interns with training about social care law, and they can then use their skills and expertise to assist their host organisation with a wide range of tasks and projects. We’ve had some really positive feedback from host organisations so far, and we are looking forward to working with new host organisations and interns in the new academic year.
MECOPP has also hosted two interns to date, and as a result we have been able to develop new resources and gather new information that will really benefit the people we work with.”
Jennifer Paton – Legal Officer, MECOPP
"I completed my legal internship with MECOPP over the summer holidays after my second year at University. It has been a fantastic opportunity to start using the law on a practical basis to protect vulnerable people. Studying law at University has been interesting and hard work, but my placement at MECOPP has brought the law to life in a way that university and study alone cannot achieve. Through this practical experience I learnt the importance of effective implementation and enforcement, rather than just the existence of relevant laws, in protecting the rights and liberties of citizens. I have developed useful skills in managing my own caseload, seeking constructive feedback and learning from the team around me. MECOPP is a fantastically run charity that I am proud to be a part of."
Eliza – LLB (third year)
The Scottish Citizens Advice Service has two aims: to ensure that individuals do not suffer through ignorance of their rights and responsibilities or through an inability to express their needs, and to exercise a responsible influence on the development of social policies and services, both locally and nationally. There are 60 local Citizens Advice bureaux across the country who deliver advice, information and representation on topics including legal issues, debt, benefits, employment, housing, immigration, consumer and many more. Bureaux have paid staff who provide advice and also support volunteers who are crucial to the delivery of our service to clients.
The partnership between the Law School and CAB has been running for 25 years. Law students are placed with bureaux across Glasgow and the surrounding areas and are fast tracked via online training through our volunteer information course. They then complete bureau practice and interviewing competencies before delivering advice and solo interviewing. This experience and skills training as well as knowledge gained is invaluable for law students and their future employers. It also helps bureau to increase volunteer capacity. Ideally bureau are looking for law student volunteers to commit to a few years volunteering with a bureau.
"The experience of working at Citizens Advice Bureaux has opened my eyes fully to the inequalities and difficulties people suffer in society every day, whether it is in their workplace, with their landlord, or financially. Working at the CAB offers the chance to help others to fight against injustices committed against them in a friendly and helpful environment. This is an extremely rewarding volunteering placement for all students, and it is greatly satisfying to be able to help clients fix any problems they may have. My placement officially ran for 6 months, but I look forward to continuing to volunteer at the CAB in the future."
Ryan Scott – LLB (third year)
"This placement was unlike any other legal work experience I have undertaken. You get the opportunity to interact directly with clients and are involved in hands-on problem solving from day one. The training is excellent, and you get to meet wonderful colleagues. More importantly, it’s an opportunity to make a tangible difference to someone's life. It feels great to empower someone by making them aware of their rights and available options."
Myrto Gkika - LLM International Law
"I find Citizens Advice to be an amazing opportunity to practically apply the content and skills I have began to develop as part of my degree. I quickly became more aware of the real issues that people struggle with daily, and being able to help and offer advice to alleviate these to any extent feels incredibly fulfilling. I now feel a lot more confident when dealing with legal content in a problem-solving sense and when communicating with clients. The placement feels like an incredibly valuable use of time as you are helping real people solve real problems."
Rosie Wilson – LLB (third year)
The inaugural RebLaw Scotland conference took place on 11 November 2017. Law practitioners, academics and students sharing a passion for rights and justice, gathered together to discuss the most pressing social issues facing Scotland today.
Organised by three young trainee solicitors, Mairi McAllan, Seonaid Stevenson and Katy McAskill, the conference was inspired by Yale Law School's RebLaw conference and Gerald Lopez's concept of rebellious lawyering. Its focus was on how lawyers can campaign, protest and advocate for rights in Scotland, using the law as a tool for social justice.
The day was structured around panel based discussion on issues from refugees rights, to challenging austerity, to protecting victims of forced marriage.
Tickets sold out within days of being released - with the final batch snapped up within 24 hours. 185 delegates were joined by 27 panellists and a dozen student volunteers, who made sure the show stayed on the road.
Seonaid Stevenson, one of the organisers of RebLaw Scotland said that “the response to RebLaw has been incredible - showing that the Scottish legal community is passionate about purposeful, dynamic representation of under-served communities.”
Speaking on social media after the event, the organisers said ‘[the] launch was incredible - the desire to challenge the status quo and use the law as a tool for social change was palpable. To everyone who attended, volunteered, spoke, listened, discussed - thank you. Let's get this movement moving!’
Want to get involved?
- Follow us on Twitter: @RebLawSco
- Like our Facebook page: RebLaw Scotland 2017
- Join the RebLaw mailing list. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the RebLaw Scotland movement at:
- University of Glasgow RebLaw Scotland webpage: https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/law/research/groups/lawreform/reblaw
- School of Law blog post: 'RebLaw Scotland 2017'
- Coverage in The National: 'Law "rebels" put spotlight on using skills to help vulnerable'
- Coverage in The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland: 'RebLaw Scotland – join the rebellion'
Lawyers Without Borders
Lawyers Without Borders is global group of volunteer lawyers from around the world who offer pro bono service to rule of law projects, capacity building and access to justice initiatives. For more information on the work that Lawyers without Borders undertakes, please see their website http://www.lawyerswithoutborders.org/
Our society, Lawyers Without Borders Student Division at Glasgow University, operates on two levels. The Research Division aims to use their acquired academic knowledge in a practical way, which is often under-prioritised in university education. This is done by undertaking research projects from the Lawyers without Borders Parent Organisation as well as NGOs that require legal help. The Events and Fundraising Team aims to raise funds for both our society and the Parent Organisation. This is done in order to provide pro bono lawyers with resources to aid those in need in the countries of their focus. Primarily, the team will be organising an annual Human Rights Conference, likely to be held at the University, as well as social events.
We welcome students from all disciplines and anyone for a taste for social justice! To get involved, like our Facebook page and 'follow' us to ensure you are notified of events. Come along yourself or bring some friends, we're a very warm and welcoming group of people!
Visit our Facebook page
Disclaimer: LWOB Student Division at the University of Glasgow is a separate entity existing as a Chapter, organized under the umbrella program of LWOB Student Divisions. Opinions, Views, Positions, Activities, Events and Decisions of this Student Division, do not represent any view or position held and/or endorsed by Lawyers Without Borders or Lawyers Without Borders U.K.
"I have been part of LWOB for one year now and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience. In our first year we accomplished a lot but the highlight would have to be the legal hackathon. We all got together at the GUU to solve legal problems in a fun and unique way, with a couple of drinks and plenty of laughs. It was very relaxed and many non-law students also there. LWOB gives an approachable and encouraging insight into law and social justice to anyone who is keen. 2018-2019 is looking to be an even bigger and better year with plans for a talk on Human Rights and Brexit, more socials, and a conference!"
Grace Carter: Events 2018-2019, Treasurer 2017-2018 - LLB (fourth year)
Govan Law Centre
Govan Law Centre is an independent community controlled charitable organisation which exists to tackle areas of unmet legal need and social disadvantage, as determined by our Board. Our legal work is carried out by the firm of Dailly and Co. The law centre is funded through a variety of sources, including the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, the Oak Foundation and the Big Lottery, to deliver a number of projects throughout Scotland. We assist those in need with a large number of issues, including housing standards, homelessness, eviction, debt, welfare rights, education issues, discrimination and employment.
For a number of years we have worked in partnership with Glasgow University to provide students with an opportunity to obtain invaluable experience as a volunteer within our organisation. Students will usually commit to volunteering for a day per week, and will work closely with one of our projects. Volunteers will gain experience in a range of areas which will be vital for their future career, including Legal Aid, drafting, client communication, researching, shadowing in court and file keeping. Volunteers are always supervised by our legal staff, however, the more dedication a volunteer demonstrates, the more responsibility and independence they will gain.
“There is mutual benefit for both Glasgow University volunteers and ourselves in participating in the Internship Programme. Govan Law Centre gains vital assistance from fresh young talent, and we are extremely grateful for their input. As a charity, our volunteers mean that we can help provide access to justice to more of those in need. From our volunteers’ points of view, we hope that their internship provides a valuable insight into the practical side of law, and working in a legal office. We have developed some great relationships with volunteers over the years, and hope that their experience here helps them progress through their legal career.”
Laura Simpson (Senior Solicitor and Legal Services Manager)
"I volunteered one day per week in the Education Law Unit at Govan Law Centre during third year. The ELU is a free legal resource funded by the Scottish Government, representing parents in any issues concerning their child’s education, often in respect of Additional Support Needs matters. During my time, I was given a range of tasks; drafting a number of case documents, conducting legal research, communicating with clients, and carrying out typical administrative and filing work. It was rewarding to be part of such a vital legal resource for those who often cannot afford access to legal representation, and for whom it provides an outcome or remedy where they cannot seek redress on their own. The role allowed me to gain valuable practical experience of legal work, with the solicitors approachable and keen to give you a good deal of responsibility."
Jack Richardson – LLB (fourth year)